I volunteered as a School Programs Educator at the Vancouver Aquarium from 2009-2011. More specifically, I worked for a School Program titled The Art of Experimental Design (a.k.a. Salty Science), which targets students in grades 5 to 11. During this two-hour program, I shared facts about marine animals’ biology while we (typically a group of 10 students and myself) discussed the importance of the scientific method in conducting research: we constructed hypotheses about what would happen when we introduced two animals to one another, we used replication to determine what food green urchins prefer, and we explored the effectiveness of having control and experimental groups as we observed the movement of barnacles. In order for this program to run successfully, I also facilitated safe and respectful interaction between students and marine invertebrates including sea stars, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, barnacles, and green shore crabs.
Volunteering for this program gave me the opportunity to gain experience with classroom management and developing a rapport with a group of students. I was also able to test out and refine teaching methods such as guiding inquiry, using pre- and post-tests, and providing real-life examples for students.
In addition to my experience with The Art of Experimental Design, I had the opportunity to collaborate on a self- and peer-evaluation development project at the Vancouver Aquarium, which you can read about here.